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King Cake and Sazeracs: Where to Eat and Drink for Mardi Gras

Celebrate Mardi Gras with these specials from Washington’s restaurants and bars

Even if you can’t visit the Big Easy for Mardi Gras—it comes to an end on Fat Tuesday, March 8—you can laissez les bon temps rouler at these bars and restaurants.

Acadiana is dedicated to Gulf-region cuisine, serving up Lousiana staples such as seafood gumbo on a daily basis. On March 7 and 8, from 5:30 to 10:30, the restaurant is offering a four-course prix fixe menu for $50 with menu items such as crawfish jambalaya and rabbit étouffé. At the bar, you can score Lousiana small bites at any time for $10 or less—offerings include house-made cracklins ($2), Cajun popcorn shrimp ($5), and frog legs ($10). Wash it down $5 specialty cocktails and wine or $4 drafts starting at 3:30.

Bayou Bakery is leading the pack with its weeklong Mardi Gras specials. Everyday through March 8, from 5 to 10:30, there are $7 “Chew Dat” specials such as jambalaya and gumbo, as well as king cake and beignets. Every night, the cafe is featuring drink specials, games, and New Orleans-style bands, such as Laissez Foure. Stop by anytime during the week and buy an Abita beer ($4) for a chance to win a trip for four to Mardi Gras 2012. Bayou Bakery’s celebration culminates on Fat Tuesday with an all-out party where the winner will be announced.

On Fat Tuesday, BlackFinn Restaurant and Saloon in Bethesda is offering a Cajun-inspired menu all day, plus $5 Hurricanes, Bacardi drinks, and Red Bull-and-vodka drinks. BlackFinn DC will be decked out in purple, green, and yellow for a Mardi Gras celebration starting at 8, with $4 24-ounce Bud Lights and $5 Bacardi drinks. The restaurant is serving chicken-and-sausage gumbo for lunch and dinner.

Michel Richard gets in on the fun with his fourth annual Mardi Gras Celebration at Central on Fat Tuesday from 5 to 10:30. Along with beads and live music from Laissez Foure, guests can enjoy New Orleans-themed menu items such as fried oysters with caviar creole remoulade, Richard’s twists on biscuits and gravy, a trout po’boy, beignets, and more. For libations, the restaurant is offering signature drinks from the Crescent City such as the Sazerac and Abita’s Mardi Gras Bock Ale.

Although Louisiana Kitchen & Bayou Bar is always a slice of New Orleans, the restaurant will roll out a few special touches on Fat Tuesday. From open to close, the bar will have $6 Hurricanes and $5 Abitas, king cake, and beads for every customer.

McFadden’s Fat Tuesday festivities run all day, with $5 burgers and shrimp-and-wings baskets, plus $1 Bud Light drafts ($3 for the special-edition Mardi Gras cans), $3 imports, and $5 bombs. The party (with contests, raffles, and giveaways) gets into full swing around 9:30­.

The Cajun-Korean mash-up Mokomandy is celebrating its Cajun side by debuting its new happy hour on Fat Tuesday from 5 to 7. The restaurant already serves New Orleans mainstays such as snapping-turtle gumbo, and the bar offers its take on Sazeracs and Hurricanes. You can also order king cake for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate if you find one of the babies.

Okra’s Louisiana Bistro is partying all day (from 11 AM to 2 AM) with live music, surprise dinner items, and half-off specials at the bar from 3 to 7, including all appetizers, Abita drafts ($2), wine by the glass, and all rail drinks.

is serving an all-day Cajun menu for Fat Tuesday, including po’ boys, gumbo, étouffées, and jambalaya. The bar is offering $5 Abita, plus Hurricanes and Cyclones for $6.50, and the restaurant’s regular Tuesday specials (such as $7 for two snow-crab clusters) will be in effect starting at 4.

The Red Derby
is hosting its Fat Tuesday revelry starting at 7, with New Orleans’ zydeco music, beads, feathered-masks, and $3 Hurricanes.

RT’s Restaurant has a cast of regulars who really get into the spirit of things­ each year—they’ve even inspired the restaurant to host a Mardi Gras costume contest. On Fat Tuesday, the restaurant is serving king cake the authentic way—with two baby figurines baked in and prizes awarded to whomever finds them. The restaurant’s regular food-and-drink menu (which includes ten étouffées and Hurricanes) is on offer.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.